Cards from Vacation

We did it two summers ago. We did it last summer. We are doing it again, this summer. Every day, Robert reads one of the texts from Top Readers MORE Nonfiction Reading Comprehension, level 4. The texts are short. One might say they are a little chaotic in their desire to squeeze as many concepts/ information as possible in a few sentences. They are nicely illustrated. They are like cards sent from the summer camp!
The activities below the texts couldn’t be easier and less….academic. The comprehension questions come with two possible answers with one of them being an obvious choice.
Then come word searches, sudokus, or crosswords. That is recreation! Just what the vacation should be for.
Except, something is missing.
Postcards from vacation are, by definition, attempts to share overwhelming new experiences with someone who is not privy to the same overload of senses exposed to new views, sounds, and smells.
Postcards are hastily made short reports on vast and not fully processed experiences.
So the texts from Top Readers are like postcards but, in Robert’s case, postcards not related to any prior experiences. Such “experiences” have to be created artificially.

For this reason, we read a paragraph about Special Silk AFTER we had completed the History Packet about Ancient China. And for the same reason, Robert will read the text about Aztecs and Mayas after he completes a history packet about Aztecs Civilization.

Today, however, I used the texts from Top Readers differently. Not like postcards but like snapshots advertising specific travel destinations. Yesterday and the day before, we read three texts – one about Marco Polo’s journey, one about Africa, and one about wildebeests. Today we are going to Rodger William Park and Zoo in Providence. There is an African section there. There are wildebeests sharing space with, much more popular, zebras. And there is a Marco Polo Trail starting in…”Venice”.
Off we go.

I am not advertising Top Reader series mainly because it has been out of print for quite a while now.
Still, I like the idea behind this approach for summer learning -light, a little chaotic, and stress-free…

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